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LEXICON

 

 

macaque

Name of a monkey of the genus Macaca, of which there are several species, including five that are found in Thailand, i.e. the Crab-eating Macaque (Macaca irus or ling sahaem - fig.), Pig-tail Macaque (Macaca nemestrina or ling hang san - fig.), Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta or ling wok - fig.), Assamese Macaque (Macaca assamensis or ling wok phu khao - fig.) and the Stump-tailed Macaque (Macaca arctoides or ling sen - fig.). Beside these, there is yet another species of Pig-tailed Macaque, known as the Northern Pig-tailed Macaque, genus Macaca leonina, but this has traditionally been considered a subspecies of Macaca nemestrina. To distinguish the two, Macaca nemestrina is also referred to as Southern Pig-tail Macaque. Macaques are usually not afraid of water, but not all species are good swimmers, though some are, and a few even like to dive (fig.). Some species, especially Pig-tail Macaques, are trained for picking coconuts at coconut palm plantations (fig.). Typically, macaques often store food for short periods of time in their cheeks, which they use as pouches. In Thai they are generally called kang, but are specified with other or additional names. Etymologically the word macaque comes from the Portuguese word macaco which was picked up from makaku, a word from a West African tongue called Fiot, in which the word kaku means ‘monkey’. In southern Thailand the Malay term Beruk is often used to refer to the Southern Pig-tail Macaque, though in reality the term refers to any type of monkey or macaque. In India, macaques and some other monkeys are considered the warriors of King Rama, the seventh avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, and when one of them dies near a Hindu community, it is given the proper respect and rites for the dead (fig.).